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New cities report tackles population growth head on

Infrastructure Australia’s new report, Future Cities: Planning for our growing population, is a compelling conversation starter about the trajectory of our big cities.

Property Council of Australia Chief Executive Ken Morrison said the report confronts the challenges and opportunities arising from population growth head on and called for critical infrastructure funding to be brought forward.

Rather than waving the white flag on immigration, or dredging up dogmatic slogans that our cities are ‘full’, this report provides a candid and clear-eyed analysis which accepts that we are on an unavoidable growth trajectory," Mr Morrison said.

"It removes the false narrative around whether or not we will grow, and instead zeroes in on the choices between smart and dumb growth.

"Sticking our head in the sand is not an option. As the report notes, now more than ever before, Australia’s long-term prosperity is linked to the performance of our cities.

"Importantly Infrastructure Australia has identified some of the policy tools needed to help prepare our cities for the next 30 years.

"An incentives framework that encourages all tiers of government to focus on infrastructure projects that seed more liveable and productive cities is a proven model that can complement City Deals.

"Our existing metropolitan governance is clunky and the report makes clear it should be re-geared to overcome short-term and fractured planning in our cities.

"We would also urge all governments to seize the call for greater transparency around strategic planning tools and information, as this can help bring the community into the fold and make them active participants in the decision-making process.

"The Infrastructure Australia report has a refreshing honesty about the transformation that will occur in our big cities that you rarely see in planning documents.

"While the report lays out different scenarios for growth and the infrastructure required to service it, there is also clear demand to pull forward investment in public transport.

"The Commonwealth has a $10 billion urban rail program, but almost all of the spending is outside the forward estimates period and this needs to be brought forward in this year’s budget.

"The other pleasing element of the report is its emphasis on climate change and emission reductions. The property industry is a global leader on sustainability, and the scale of the built environment means with the right policy settings, industry can play its part in making Australia’s emissions profile cleaner." 

Media contact:  Fiona Benson | M 0407 294 620 |  E fbenson@propertycouncil.com.au